Sunday, March 27, 2022

Homemade Pillowcases, Sneak Peek Easter Decor and Weird Blasts from the Past

 A Little Bit Of This And That

Hi everyone! Today, in true "this and that" fashion, I am sharing a lot of different things that I've been doing, working on and decorating with. First off, let me give you a little "sneak peek" into my Easter decorating. I won't show you everything today as I plan to join in a blog hop later in April but I can show you a couple of things. My little light up tree has turned into an "Easter Egg Tree" with the addition of some very colorful Easter eggs. The tree is flanked with a pretty faux potted plant and a cute bunny in pink. Notice that all three of these items have burlap in common and all three are boasting pastel colors. 

And speaking of pastel colors, how gorgeous are these colorful eggs that I have stacked in a wire mesh candle holder?! I think one of my favorite things about Easter/Spring decor are the lovely colors! The items I'm showing you are all part of a larger "theme" and I can't wait for you to see it all put together!

I can't seem to get enough of green these days and when I spied this pretty fabric at Walmart I knew it was destined to turn into pillow cases. My friend, Sharon, gave me an easy to follow directions sheet for making pillowcases and I adapted the directions to make a solid color set. I did decide to add yellow ribbon to the pillowcases for an extra pop of color. The green is much brighter than it shows in this picture. I can't wait to see them on our bed and will try to remember to take a picture so you can see how it looks. This is the fourth pillow case set I have sewn and I always feel accomplished when I "create" something handmade for our home. 

And here's a weird "blast from the past" that I'm sharing just because I think it's interesting. Last Sunday, The Mr. and I were driving to Appalachian State University for a concert and along the way we stopped off at the now closed "Beam's Restaurant" and hotel. The Mr. has seen this several times driving to hike and told me about it and then we read a little about this place online. 

Evidently at one time Beam's was a very popular place to eat and the attached hotel was equally popular for travelers. Now, it looks like it has been used to deposit lots of trash. We haven't been able to figure out where all of this "stuff" came from but there is a lot of just garbage laying on the property.

This was the office from the days when the hotel was open and operational. It was interesting to see but also kind of sad to see something that used to be open and thriving looking so poorly. If you look up Beam's Chinese Restaurant in Spruce Pine, NC you can see lots more photos including what it looked like in its heyday. We love Chinese food so it's too bad we missed eating here when it was open. 

And, finally, I'll close with a very simple meal that we enjoyed this evening. I'm sharing this because, if you're like me, I enjoy hearing about tasty meals that are easy and don't involve a lot of prep or following a big recipe. And this one certainly fits that description! We enjoyed a Morningstar Farms Original Griller which is the vegetarian version of a hamburger patty. I nuked the patties for one minute forty five seconds and then browned them in a skillet with a smidgen of olive oil. The green beans are salt free and I heated them with the addition of onion powder and salt free garlic and herb seasoning. And the noodles are buttered. That's it. With a side of applesauce it made a nutritious and delicious meal. 

I've got a busy week ahead. How about you? Let me know in the comments what you are doing this week and we can all share in a little bit of this and that!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Wearing Green For Spring

 Fashion, Food And More

Hi everyone!  I haven't done a fashion post since January so please let me know in the comments if this is something you would like to see continue on the blog or not. Since I recently purchased this dress and am truly enjoying it AND since it is still available on Amazon, I thought I would share it with you. I'm not an Amazon affiliate  and don't get any compensation from this post. 

In my opinion, dresses like this are hard to find. I have always been drawn to feminine, longer length dresses that are lined and can be dressed up or down. This dress ticked off all the boxes and the price point was pretty good for a new dress. It's casual enough to be comfortable but also has enough oomph to be considered for dressy wear. 

The smocking at the top and around the wrists is very pretty and gives me more choice in terms of undergarments. If I were still teaching, I would be wearing this dress often. I've already worn it a couple of times and it's pretty new. It's available in a lighter and darker green and I purchased the lighter green. I have also worn it with my dark green corduroy jacket and the combination works well together. 

My sweet Cassie wanted to join in on the photo shoot and also get a breath of fresh air. 

She is such a sweet girl and quite the armful to hold. You can see I'm holding on tight since we stepped outside. She loves to sniff the air and look around but that's as far as she gets. We don't let her down on the ground. You can also see the waist of the dress better in these pics. You could use a belt if you wanted one, but I prefer the waist as it is. 

And now....on to another subject dear to my heart. Good foods!

We ate at one of my favorite restaurants this past week and they have the best Greek Salads there. It was so pretty I had to take a picture! 

And I made my "version" of Chicken a la King recently and it was so yummy! I combined unsalted Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup with a can of undrained mixed vegetables and two bags of StarKist 25% less sodium Premium White Chicken. I added my usual spices and a couple of salt free Herb Ox bouillon packets. For us, the salt in the chicken is enough to flavor this recipe, but you might want to either add your own salt or use regular cream of chicken soup rather than the unsalted kind. 

I made biscuits using Heart Smart Bisquick mix and baked them in my toaster oven. It makes enough for the two of us without heating up the big oven. 

And here's the finished product! My Chicken a la King recipe served over fresh biscuits. Oh my, it was tasty! I've used a similar recipe to make Chicken Pot Pie by putting the Bisquick mix on top, but I think I like making it this way better. A little black pepper on top is the perfect finishing touch!

I hope you are enjoying these first days of Spring. Be sure to leave a comment. I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Now Isn't That Just Typical?

 Well That's Just Typical

Hello everyone!  Hope you enjoyed a lovely weekend and are looking forward to a great week ahead.  Life lately has just been typical. On Friday, we had lovely warm weather and blue skies with trees budding as you can see in the above picture. 

The next day, this is what it looked like from our front window. Snow and very high winds. Now, isn't that just typical?! Especially in the month of March when weather can change from Spring to Winter in an instant. 

As the poet, William Cullen Bryant wrote;
The stormy March is come at last,
With wind, and cloud, and changing skies;
I hear the rushing of the blast,
That through the snowy valley flies.

We certainly heard some blasts as the wind rushed through our trees. We were so blessed to keep power, but we did lose our cable. I would much rather be without cable than without power!

Before this latest blast of winter, The Mr. and I took a stroll through the arboretum and enjoyed the sunshine. It was amazingly quiet there and we were able to walk around without crowds. There was a school group visiting and as we walked by we observed kids climbing in the trees and the teachers watching over them and looking very unworried about the fact their charges were doing something dangerous. I smugly remarked to The Mr. that I would not have allowed my students to do such things. I also inwardly rejoiced that I was no longer "the responsible one" who had to return her students to their parents in one piece after a field trip. I always worried that someone would get hurt while away from the school building and I always heaved a sigh of relief to get the group back to the school and on the school buses. Some teachers always looked forward to field trips but I wasn't one of them! I guess as long as there are trees around, kids will want to climb them. Now, isn't that just typical?!

There are so many unique things to be seen at the arboretum. Like this tree (or vine?) that was trained to grow over the stone wall. 

And how unique is the bark on this tree? So beautiful. 

I always enjoy the "quilt" beddings but they have not been planted for Spring as yet. But, I still got a picture taken. Now, isn't that just typical?!

Just look at those pretty flowers in the background! Oh, I hope they didn't get killed by the cold and snow. Our temperature got down to around 9 degrees last night so who knows. Wouldn't that just be typical if all the buds and flowers didn't make it?! I'm staying hopeful, though.

And speaking of being hopeful, I love the saying on this new sign I have added to the foyer table. "Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace." How lovely is that saying? I found this sign at The Dollar Tree and thought it would look good as some early Spring decor in a vignette. I'm not ready yet for Easter decor so this vignette is sort of "in-between." The little lamp is actually a candle holder. The shade reflects Spring tulips while the snow ladies are holding their spades and plants. 

I love these Jim Shore pieces and their colors, hats and spades are just the perfect "in-between" Winter and Spring pieces for the foyer table. 

I added a pretty Spring wreath to the front door. Isn't it just typical that I'm ready for flowers?! Enough with the snow already! And here is a decor "hint" for you. This wreath is actually a large candle ring. Look for larger candle rings to use as wreaths on your doors and/or walls. And, you can also use them as candle rings! (Wink)

And I know you have seen this before, but I never grow tired of this pretty candle ring interspersed with flowers and green eggs. I may be able to see snow out of the window but I can feel hopeful for Spring when I look at this lovely candle ring! 

Here is some really great news....Spring is only one week away! I'm sure we will have some cold and/or snow between now and then but we can know that warmer weather and flowers are on the way! And that makes me smile. 

Now, isn't that just typical?!

Until Next Time,

Sunday, March 6, 2022

A Visit To The Mitford Museum in Hudson, North Carolina

 Coming Home To Mitford

Hi everyone! Last Friday my friend, Sharon, and I headed down the highway to visit the Mitford Museum. You will recall that we are both fans of "The Mitford Series" books written by Jan Karon and we were both excited to visit the museum and learn more about the life and times of Jan Karon. Here, Sharon and I are standing in the hallway of the museum. 

The Mitford Museum is located in the old Hudson Elementary school which both Jan and her sister attended. The school was purchased by the town of Hudson, NC and turned into an Arts Center housing space for the museum as well as other things. I love that rather than tearing an old school down, it has been refurbished and is being used for this purpose. 

This was our lovely tour guide and she conducted Sharon and I throughout the exhibits. The first stop is in the hallway just outside of what was Jan Karon's first grade classroom. On the wall behind the tour guide you can see some drawings/writing done by Jan at various times in her life.

This is a map in the hallway where visitors can add a pin to show where they have traveled from. Every state except four has had visitors coming to the museum so far! Alaska and Hawaii had visitors coming as well as visitors from Europe! Mitford is a much beloved place. 

This is Jan's former first grade classroom. We were free to roam around the exhibits with the tour guide chiming in with extra information from time to time. People have left messages for Jan on the chalkboard. I love how the "school" theme carries through in this room. 

There were glass cases all throughout the museum housing Jan's memorabilia and photos of her family. This case shows a tribute to her grandmother "Miss Fannie" of the famous Miss Fannie's Hat book that Jan wrote. You can see one of Miss Fannie's hats and a pair of her very fancy earrings as well as copies of Jan's books translated into many languages. There were similar glass cases dedicated to her parents and an area dedicated to photos of her very early life with her first husband and little daughter, Candace. 

This is the middle of the room and Sharon is looking at the plethora of items that Jan carried with her throughout her many moves and are now displayed on an old table that belonged to her grandmother. There was even a framed baking pan that her grandmother had used!

There were a couple of thank you letters to Jan on display. This was a thank you from first lady Barbara Bush.

And this was a thank you letter to Jan from The Queen Mother of England!!

This section of the room showed more items from Jan's growing up years and had her voice speaking through an old fashioned radio explaining to aspiring authors the things she feels are important in writing a book. The mirror you see is the very one that Jan looked into as a very young girl and declared that one day she would be an author. She invites visitors to gaze into the mirror and make their own hopeful declarations. 

After finishing in Jan's First Grade Classroom, our tour guide escorted us into a second classroom which housed more items from Jan's life as well as a lot of items that came with Jan's success such as the Hallmark series of snowmen and Mitford village houses. Here, you can see the desk that Jan used when writing the books in the series. The tour guide told us that this is the one item in the museum that we were allowed to touch and open the drawers of as they also housed important items. 

These drawers housed the original manuscript of "These High Green Hills" and some precious letters to Jan from her daughter. Her daughter, Candace, passed away recently from pancreatic cancer so this was a poignant part of the tour indeed. 

And if you have read, "Shepherds Abiding" you will recognize the nativity pieces that Father Tim refurbishes for his wife Cynthia as a Christmas present.

In real life, Jan bought these pieces at an antique store in Blowing Rock, NC and when she mentioned having them refurbished to her daughter, her daughter told her she should have "Father Tim to do that." 

And one corner of the room was set up with a church theme with vestments like Father Tim might have worn. 

The gift shop bears the name from the book and is called, "Happy Endings Bookstore." All the items in the gift shop were hand picked by Jan Karon and have something to do with characters or events in her books. Do you see Dooley's red bike hanging on the wall?

Of course all of Jan Karon's books are for sale in the shop and signed by her, as well. I understand that, soon, items in the gift shop will be available online. 

It was a lovely outing with Sharon, to go to the Mitford Museum. I feel such a connection with the characters in her books and find myself wishing sometimes that I could step through a portal and be in Mitford for awhile. Jan's books just leave you with that type of warm feeling. Sharon and I were talking about this on the drive back to Asheville. It's not that "real life" doesn't happen in the Mitford books. But Jan has a way of writing that doesn't offend or leave one feeling depressed. It's a beautiful gift to have to be able to write this way. Sharon and I have been blessed to get to meet and talk to Jan on more than one occasion when she has done author talks in Asheville and she is just as gracious and kind as I would have imagined her to be had I never met her personally. Visiting The Mitford Museum only has added to my admiration of this wonderful author. 

Until Next Time,